Personal Development

Next week is Mental Health Awareness week, with a specific focus on anxiety.

To help raise awareness, we will be posting a daily resource from some of our favourite pioneers who are challenging the way we think about and treat mental health and anxiety.

To get the ball rolling, here is some background on anxiety:

The Facts.

• In any given week in England, 6 in 100 people will be diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder (Mind)
• In the UK, over 8 million people are experiencing an anxiety disorder at any one time (Mental Health UK)
• Less than 50% of people with generalised anxiety disorder access treatment (Mental Health Foundation)
• An estimated 822,000 workers are affected by work-related stress, depression or anxiety every year (Health and Safety Executive)

What anxiety is.

Anxiety is a perfectly natural and normal reaction that lives within all of us. It’s a human emotion that can spur us on, keep us alert and safe and even motivate us towards a goal. However, when overused and out of control, no matter how confident, educated, famous, competent, brave or strong someone seems, anxiety can be hiding under the surface, causing all manner of difficulties. Biochemically, anxiety is a combination of hormones and neurotransmitters called Epinephrine and Norepinephrine which are responsible for the adrenaline and energy that gets pumped through our bodies. It’s an essential human function that we all need to perform and even survive but when it takes over it becomes the inner battle that some are fighting but no one can see.

When anxiety can appear.

Anxiety is what we feel when a stressful situation takes place, or we feel worried, tense, afraid or under threat. It occurs when our psychology interacts with our physiology causing a reaction that sends our system into chaos.
A spell of anxiety can happen anywhere at anytime and not even be related to what is going on at that particular time. Apple TV's hit show 'Ted Lasso' demonstrates what a panic attack can be like and has helped many people come to terms with what they might be experiencing.

The signs of anxiety are...

  • Regularly feeling nervous, restless, frustrated and irritated
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling twitchy, agitated and fearful
  • Increased heart rate, headaches, muscle aches and a churning stomach

When it becomes a problem.

Anxiety becomes a problem when the above symptoms last longer than expected after a stressful situation has ended. It can become more severe over time and limit our ability to do something or live a life that’s free from worry.

Anxiety is not for life.

Anxiety isn’t a disease or lifetime curse, it can be a temporary condition that is manageable and curable with the right approach and strategy that works for the individual. We’re not saying that there’s a magic wand, or an easy solution that’s guaranteed to cure it. Managing anxiety is as personal to those who are suffering depending upon the reason they have the condition in the first place, but there are proven strategies that can help ease the chaos we feel when anxiety takes hold.

So please get involved by sharing your experiences, methods, strategies and stories over on LinkedIn – anxiety is something that affects more of us than you’d expect, so let’s speak up and make it okay to talk about how we’re feeling – after all, a problem shared is a problem halved.


Stress and the Discovery Colour Energies

It is Mental Health Awareness week and to kick off our five days of useful resources, we are going to take a look at our beloved colour energies and what triggers stress for each.

Stress. We all feel it and we all need an appropriate amount of it to perform. However, when we experience, translate, or expose ourselves to stressful situations that push us over the edge, that healthy dose of stress turns into distress. That Is when anxiety shifts from keeping us safe, to eating away at us.

The Insights Discovery model helps us understand behaviour - what drives it, how it’s perceived and what typically triggers stress for the dominant styles of personality.

Today's resource is a practical activity.

Take a look at these stressful triggers, and...

😡 Which do you find stressful (they might not be from your dominant colour energy)?
👉 When, where or with whom do they occur?
✍ Jot down two things you can do if the situation arises, or you feel yourself going to ‘that’ place.
🧠 Keep your actions in mind and visible as you go through your week. After all, the only thing we can truly control is how we choose to respond to a situation.


Mental Health OR Brain Health. Stephen Bartlett (Diary of a CEO and Dragons Den) and Dr. Daniel Amen - an alternative perspective

The term ‘Mental Health’ is being challenged by sector specialists from psychotherapy, psychiatry, and biological and neurological backgrounds. The more research that surfaces, the stronger the evidence becomes that our mental health is heavily related to our biological, physiological and neurological well-being.

In this recent Podcast, Stephen Bartlett (Diary of a CEO and Dragons’ Den) interviews Dr Daniel Amen, a celebrity therapist who has spent over four decades studying mental and brain health and has scanned the brains of over 230,000 people in search of answers.

Along with many brain, relationship and health-related ideas, Dr Amen offers a theory that the way we’re looking at and treating mental health could be making it even worse.


Today's Mental Health Awareness Week post is something to keep in your back pocket!

Anxiety can occur anywhere, but typically when we are faced with stressful situations ranging from open or small spaces, meetings or difficult people to social situations and presentations where that destructive inner voice can whisper in our ear ‘you don’t belong here’, or ‘you are not enough’.

Today we offer you a model, courtesy of our resilience specialist Michelle Spirit..

This simple model uses the acronym B.E.A.T which helps calm the rush of anxiety we might feel, cutting too much stress off at the pass so we can relax once again into a state of control and calmness.

In summary, here’s how and why it works.

🌬 B – Breathe. When feeling anxious, our breath becomes short and shallow, starving the brain of much-needed oxygen. By turning our focus to the breath we shift our attention inwardly and by regulating the breath we create stability. By breathing out for longer than we breathe in we stimulate the parasympathetic system (responsible for rest and digest) which is the counterbalance to the sympathetic system (responsible for activation, or fight and flight)

🚶‍♀️ E – Exercise. Getting up and moving around when feeling anxious releases muscle tension and lowers the body’s contribution to the overwhelming emotion. Also, when moving your body, you naturally release feel-good neurochemicals into your brain such as dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline and endorphins – the rest and revive chemicals.

👌 A – Accept. Taking control of your inner voice and changing the language helps the rational part of your brain step in. We can typically only focus on one internal message at a time, so changing the dialogue from self-deprecating to a non-judgemental message that allows emotions to wash over it eases the pressure we put ourselves under.

👣 T -Transcend. When feeling overwhelmed or out of control through anxiety, taking a minute to mindfully engage with all five senses grounds us to the present moment – we all like a bit of control and when experiencing a panic attack or spell of anxiety the fear of not knowing where the emotion is going can cause more upset.

So next time you feel the rising tide of an emotional response that might lead to feeling anxious, practice the above process and BEAT it into the ground!!!

#mentalhealthawareness #tohelpmyanxiety

We're in this together!


How to help someone at work who has anxiety

If you haven’t experienced the severity of anxiety or its impact, it can be difficult to walk in the shoes of those who do and challenging to help them navigate their way through a working day. To add to the complexity, anxiety can be situational, social or high-functioning which means although a colleague can be seen as confident in meetings or speaking publicly, their anxiety disorder kicks in when in small groups, or with those they don’t know.

How I live with high-functioning anxiety.

In this up-beat TED Talk Jordan Raskopoulos helps us understand these different descriptions of anxiety, what their triggers might be and the impact they can have.

As an estimated 822,000 workers are affected by work-related stress, depression or anxiety every year it’s likely that someone you work close to is suffering from this disorder.

The following tips will hopefully help you navigate your way to supporting someone with a general anxiety disorder.

1. Do not assume.

If a colleague tells you that they have a general anxiety disorder do not assume that it’s the same for everyone. Don’t watch them as if they’re about to explode, and if you do see something that might lead you to believe they’re feeling anxious, don’t say ‘are you feeling anxious’ – that can only make things worse. Find out when and where they might feel the anxiety and ask them if there’s any particular way they would like to be helped if it occurs.

2. Be kind

People who suffer from anxiety tend to become more anxious about the anxiety than what triggers it in the first place. Have an open-door policy and let them know you’re there for support, a walk and a non-judgemental listening ear – when suffering from anxiety people can go inwards and not open up about their challenges easily.

3. Get to know the signs

When suffering from anxiety people’s behaviour will let you know. If they’ve shared information with you as mentioned in point one, you’ve got a head start. However, watch out for increased levels of nervousness, fidgeting, rapid breathing, increased perspiration or if they are having trouble focusing on one thing at a time, making decisions or getting easily tired.

4. Check-in

Supporting someone with anxiety isn’t just about being there for them when they have an attack. Anxiety can be eased over time with reassurance and encouragement but it’s unlikely they will come to you as frequently as they might need to. So check in regularly and let them know you’re there.

5. Go the extra mile

You might not be their leader, manager or even on their team but helping them with any worries or fears might help ease the anxiety. This could be anything from concerns around workplace relationships to career prospects and job security. If someone has a general anxiety disorder, what might be a small issue for others can cause all manner of issues for them

6. Step-in

If a colleague has an anxiety or panic attack whilst with you then step in and:

  • Stay calm
  • Move them to a quiet place
  • Use short, clear simple sentences
  • Help regulate their breathing using a count of 4 on the in-breath, and 7 on the out breath
  • Use the 3 3 3 rule. Focus on, and share 3 things they can see, 3 things they can hear and then 3 body parts they can move
  • Get them some water, and stay with them until it has passed

Always recommend that they seek further professional advice from their GP or a professional body like Mind, The Mental Health Foundation, Samaritans or The Campaign Against Living Miserably.


Round-up and further resources

Over the week, LinkedIn has been lit up with people sharing their personal stories of how anxiety and mental health has impacted their life. We’ve been humbled by the openness and honesty these courageous contributors have shown to raise awareness on subjects that only a few years ago would’ve been buried.

Over the last week we have shared posts on:

👉 Monday: Identifying stressful triggers and managing reactions ‘colourfully’

👉 Tuesday: Mental Health OR Brain Health – an alternative perspective

👉 Wednesday: BEAT it – a practical, in-the-moment technique to manage anxiety and panic attacks

👉 Thursday: How to help someone at work with anxiety

And today we’re rounding things up with some of our favourite Apps to manage anxiety, panic attacks and our general mental health.

First and foremost, there’s nothing more beneficial than talking to another human being about your thoughts, feelings, memories and current situation. However, engaging in daily practices that support our mental health by reframing thoughts and training our physiology and biology to manage an overload of stress is a very beneficial way of building the foundations.

Over the last few years there’s been a rise in apps that help achieve this goal. They’re accessible, easy to use and can be listened to and watched anywhere, on the train or between meetings, through guided practices, mindfulness and meditation (don’t be put off by that, meditation is something that we can all do without sitting in the lotus position or floating to a place of higher purpose and enlightenment!)


Calm offers a mood check-in feature that tracks your mood throughout the day and puts together a personalised report of your moods. In the free version, the app offers a limited amount of guided exercises and meditative audio to help relieve stress.

Find out more

MindShift CBT.

CBT is a type of therapy that focuses on negative thought patterns and focusses on breaking down self limiting beliefs that are causing harm. MindShift CBT is an app that helps users by providing daily mood check-ins, guided relaxation and mindfulness meditations, and tips for dealing with general worry, social anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, and more – and all for free

find out more

3. Headspace.

Headspace is an app that helps change behaviour by guiding you through daily practices and in-the-moment activities. Headspace has some compelling data on reducing a user’s level of stress by up to 14% in just 10 days, improving sleep, focus and relaxation.

find out more


Colourfy is a little different and offers users games and activities to focus the mind and calm emotions alongside meditations, breathing exercises, and visualisation. Combining these elements keeps the user occupied whilst changing patterns and embedding some tools to reduce anxiety and stress. It’s also good fun and very visual. The app is branded for teens, but we think it transcends age.

find out more


iBreathe is a simple yet powerful app to guide you through deep breathing exercises and breathwork. Whether you are struggling with stress, anxiety, insomnia, or are trying to meditate and relax, iBreathe provides an easy-to-use beautifully designed user interface that helps educate the user on better breathing techniques to use in the moment.

find out more

Self Help for Anxiety (SAM).

Developed by scientists in the U.K., SAM is an unusual app because it encourages users to think about situations that make them anxious and how they would think and act in each scenario. This app works by helping the user play out situations that might they usually avoid, creating familiarity and a resource that can be used when facing the situation.

find out more

Well, that concludes our week of resources for mental health awareness week, but it doesn’t stop there. Everything we do here at Unify is about challenging mindsets, and changing behaviour… it’s just simply what we do!

#mentalhealthawareness #tohelpmyanxiety

We're in this together!

James Hampton (He/Him)

James Hampton (He/Him)


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